Why I'm not Islamophobic...

This morning I read an article on CNN by Brian Mclaren calling Evangelicals to choose between allowing Islamophobia to spread further or seeking a "more charitable approach to our Muslim neighbors." In the article he said, "Many sincere and good-hearted evangelicals have never yet had a real Muslim friend, and now they probably never will because their minds have been so prejudiced by Islamophobic broadcasts on so-called Christian television and radio." 

Let me start with a few facts:

  1. I have had a "real Muslim friend." More than one, in fact. Hi **** and ****. How's your daughter ****? (Names withheld for their own safety.)
  2. I'm no friend of Christian television and radio.
  3. CNN doesn't claim to be Christian. Neither does BBC. Neither does The New York Times.

I've watched a number of news clips and read many articles in the last week that talk about Islam. In fact, I can't seem to get away from them. None of them have been from Christian news sources. Now maybe the news sources can't be trusted, but they are claiming that there has been a lot of violence and even an attack on a US Consulate that killed 4 US citizens. I must confess, Mr. Mclaren, I haven't checked their sources. It could all be a huge hoax. Maybe Christians and other non-Muslims are perfectly safe... to live and work in all the Muslim-majority countries.

Maybe American diplomatic posts in India, Indonesia and elsewhere aren't closed today. Maybe France hasn't closed embassies and other institutions in 20 countries today. Maybe nobody has died today in protests in Peshawar today. Maybe police haven't run out of rubber bullets today while trying to protect the diplomatic enclave in Islamabad (source). Maybe the State Department shouldn't have issued travel warnings for Pakistan (96.4% Muslim), Lebanon (59.7% Muslim), Tunisia (99.8% Muslim), Sudan (97% Muslim), Algeria (98.2% Muslim), and Libya (96.6% Muslim) in the last 9 days (source).

Maybe I have no reason to be afraid. No reason at all. Or maybe I should even be scared of Christians. 

Earlier this week the New York Times published an article claiming that Jesus might have been married to some woman. The reaction has been extreme. Fundamentalists were seen in Topeka today burning a movie theater. Christians took to the streets all over the country after Wednesday evening church programs, and police have been unable to contain the violence. The U.S. Government has paid for an advertising campaign distancing itself from the article in an attempt to protect its buildings and employees. */End sarcasm/*

Let's be real here. Each of these things did actually happen with Muslims. Christians aren't responsible for the violence of the last week. Muslims are. And Christian media hasn't convinced me to be scared of traveling in Muslim countries. The actions of Muslims as reported by CNN and the state department have. That's not Islamophobia, because a phobia is an irrational fear. My fear is completely rational.

To quote Mclaren, "The broad highway of us-them thinking and the offense-outrage-revenge reaction cycle leads to self-destruction." But it isn't Christians who are caught in that cycle. 

Am I an Islamophobic violence-monger by pointing it out? Am I spouting hate-speech by explaining that Mohammed was a violent man who started a violent religion? No and no.

The truth is that Brian Mclaren is promoting Anthrophobia--an irrational fear of man. He's a man-fearer, not a God-fearer, and he has let his fear of Muslim men in particular prevent him from loving them by calling them to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. 

So let's not be like Brian Mclaren. Let's be God-fearers, not man-fearers.

Joseph and his wife, Heidi, have two children, Tate and Eliza Jane. Joseph graduated from Vanderbilt University and Clearnote Pastors College. Joseph serves as pastor of Clearnote Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Comments

Dear Joseph,

Superb. Thanks.

Love,

David

If Islam is such a wonderful religion of peace, then let me suggest that all these moderate Muslim quit trying to convince me of that dubious description. How about they get busy convincing their co-religionists waging jihad that it is a religion of peace. If the jihadis have hijacked their religion then it is incumbent upon all those moderate Muslims to mount the rescue mission!

I would like to see Brian MacLaren explain why most of the victims of Muslim violence in the world seem to be other Muslims.

Brian McLaren does have a good point particularly if you look at the Evangelical Zionist. I have a Zionist friend who most likely will not be a friend for much longer and he is definitely racist against Muslims. 

I'm no Zionist but Islam isn't a race and so it is pretty much impossible to be "racist against Muslims."

Yep, my writing and understanding of grammar is terrible. What would you say instead of racist? Did I mention I play the tuba for a living?

Well if your friend has a fear of Islam that would tend to indicate that he is reasonably well educated.

"Islamophobic" is not the right label for a Muslim-hating Evangelical Zionist. If you need to label him, probably you should just call him a "Muslim-hater."

So-called "Islamophobia" (and "homophobia," and all of the other political "phobias") are passive-aggressive ploys aimed at short-circuiting anyone's inclination or ability to think negatively about a group of people. As such, they just shouldn't be used, ever. Because, let's face it: every group of people has some negative attributes, and if we can't talk or think about them, then they can only get worse!

Actually, it's probably racism. Racial supremacy is racism, and zionists are racial supremacists for the Jews. It's "positive" racism instead of the "negative" racism we are used to, if that makes sense.

It's worth noting that this sort of Zionist is not just anti-Muslim, but practically speaking is anti-Christian too. The zionist position is one that takes the side of Israel against anybody else, including Palestinian Christians.

-Joseph

Agreed; and while I come from a background which thinks that there is still something in God's purposes which involves national Israel, I do wish the "Israel right or wrong" brigade would listen to Palestinian and other Arab evangelicals (of whom there are some 2m in the world).

Dear Joseph: Don't know if you saw the article about the latest "statement" by McLaren. He led a "commitment ceremony" for his homosexual son and his lover. Not a lot of nuance there. Love,  David

I concur with you completely with you on this point. I might also point out that there some Anglicans and Maronite (sp?) Catholic Christians in this area  of the world, too. However, the Maronite Christians are in Lebanon and I don't know whether they aren't considered part of the Middle East or not.

Abram, I understand your point about loaded words, such as Islamophobia and homophobia.

On the other hand, while for example, while I realize that homosexual behavior is sinful and I deplore that sin, that doesn't mean that I hate all homosexual people. Among the homosexuals* I know (both women and men), some have pleasant personalities and common interests and others have been mean, nasty, angry, and inpatient, just like the straight people I know.

You might not consider this the same as one of my nieces who had sexual relations with her fiance before marriage and had a baby before their wedding, but I do. Do I consider that sinful -- of course. But do I hate her -- of course not.

I know that's not a perfect analogy, since homosexual behavior will likely continue. It may even be difficult to conquer, even if a homosexual becomes a Christian, but my niece and her now-husband aren't sinning in having sexual relations now that they are married.

P.S. I use the word "homosexual" rather than gays and lesbians because it's shorter and rather than sodomites because by definition sodomite can't include women. It seems to me that homosexual sin is just as bad in women as it is in men.

Sue,

In no way, shape or form did I imply that it is appropriate for you, me, Michael Woods, or his Muslim-hating friend to hate people--sodomites, Muslims or otherwise. It is entirely possible to make negative assessments of a person, or an entire group, without hatred. Just this morning I made a negative assessment of my daughter: "Your diaper stinks." A negative assessment does not imply hatred. Similarly, Pastor Joseph can make the negative assessment that "Islam is a violent religion" without implying any hatred of Muslims. But if political correctness strangles our ability to make negative assessments, then the baby's diaper will never get changed, and we'll all go from miserable to worse. You must decouple "hatred" from "negative judgements"; they are not the same. We must be mature in our thinking.

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